Water Rights in Washington

Overview of Water Rights in Washington 

A water right is:  A right to a beneficial use of a reasonable quantity of public water for beneficial purpose during a certain period of time occurring at a certain place. (Considered a “Use” right).

There are 2 different types of water rights, surface and groundwater rights.  If you have the right to divert water from a river, stream etc, you have surface water rights.  If you have the right to pump water from a well you have a groundwater right.  Many of the same things apply to both of them but there are also some important differences.

The term “beneficial use” us one of the most important terms in water rights.  It is both the measure and limit of a water right and the purpose for which that water is used.  Your actual water right is determined by how much water you and your predecessors have historically used.  If your historical use is less then what is stated on the water document your right is limited to the amount that has actually been used.  

Moses Lake Irrigation

Moses Lake Irrigation


The Priority date is also an important term in valuing a water right.  A person who established a water right first has a senior priority and the right to divert all of their water before the person with the next junior right can take any of their water from the same source.

It is important to know within Grant County your water rights and how they were established. Make sure you find an experienced agent in Moses Lake who understands all the nuances that come with having water rights or your property could be all dried up.

Contact Heather Adkinson @ 509-760-7733 propertiesinmoseslake.com



Posted on September 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm
Heather Adkinson | Category: Moses Lake | Tagged , , ,

2 responses to “Water Rights in Washington”

  1. Steve Satack says:

    we own a "domestic well" in Mae Valley. We have attempeted a share agreement with the neighbors pulling off two (2) homes on a single property plus irrigating some 2+ acres. We have seen water pressure from 70psi to a low of 19 psi when they are pulling water. we, the well owners end up with less than adequate pressure, can U advise? thank U, steve

    • Heather Adkinson says:


      You can set up a watering scheudule that only allows them to pull irrigation water out at certain times of the day so that it does not impact your watering.  That would be the easiest solution.

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